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MLS Cup overlay: MLS Cup trophy in 2016 - close-up - walkout

USA Today Sports

Welcome to another edition of “Discuss,” in which editors debate the topics of the moment in MLS.

It’s that time of year. MLS Cup is two days away, as Toronto FC once again host the Seattle Sounders, this time looking to avenge last year’s shootout loss (4 pm ET | ESPN, UniMás; TSN, TVAS). That makes this week’s “Discuss” a pretty straightforward one: Who will win MLS Cup and why?

Giving their picks are Editor-in-Chief Simon Borg, Senior Editors Ben Couch and Nicholas Rosano, New Media Editor Ben Baer, and Contributors Charles Boehm and Dave Zeitlin.

BAER: 2-1 Seattle

It was #Baeranteed on Monday’s ETR and the Sounders will go back-to-back thanks to some special play from Cristian Roldan.

BOEHM: 2-1 Toronto (AET)

In MLS’ limited history of MLS Cup rematches, no team has ever gotten revenge by defeating the team that beat them in the first meeting. But I think the Reds will get it done this time, in part because of the quality and diversity of their attack (I’ll be keeping a particular eye on Victor Vazquez) and in part because Seattle’s 2016 win at BMO Field was such an outlier in a game where home-field advantage tends to matter a great deal.

BORG: 2-0 Seattle

From afar Toronto has looked like a team playing nervous throughout the 2017 playoffs and you can’t help but feel that the expectations of following up a record-breaking season with a long-awaited title have been weighing on them. Playing the final at home ratchets up the pressure for a team already wound real tight. That sets things up perfectly for the defending champion Sounders who are confident, loose and playing some of their best soccer of the season.

COUCH: 3-1 Toronto

They’ve chased history successfully all season, and won’t stop now. The treble is theirs.

ROSANO: 1-0 Toronto (AET)

It’s a final and much like last year, it’ll be a tight one. But “The Save” was a once in a decade moment. Not saying that Stefan Frei isn’t still capable of the spectacular, just that this time – deep into extra time – Toronto put that chance away.

ZEITLIN: 1-0 Toronto

With bad weather expected, the game may look similar to last year’s final with neither team generating too much offense. But Toronto is too good, and Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley too motivated by recent failures, to lose a second straight MLS Cup final at home. And something says even in freezing temperatures and snow and wind, Sebastian Giovinco still finds a way to create at least one moment of brilliance.

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